Some of Britain's top soaps have been slammed for letting their teenage characters remain stuck in dead-end jobs instead of fully using their skills.
The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has called on soap operas to give their characters "more realistic career aspirations" and provide role models for young people.
More than 69 per cent of young people have the essential qualifications – five GCSEs A*- C or a vocational equivalent – which is the minimum expected by employers when taking on new staff, the organisation said, yet in soaps most young people are working in professions such as street-cleaners or bar-traders.
Emmerdale's Jo Stiles could consider a career as a senior PA or web designer, as she has clerical skills, is persuasive and good with technology, while Eastenders' Stacey Slater could be a buyer or purchasing officer as she is determined, has a strong work ethic and is good with people, the agency advised.
"Far too many soap characters have no career aspirations, and we need to at least show them moving towards a better life," said director of young people's learning at the LSC, Julia Dowd.